Fifteen Minutes: All About the Brattle
At first look, the calendar to the Brattle Theatre is an overwhelming conglomeration of new films, old films, foreign films, thrillers, fantasies and animations. But is there any rhyme and reason behind the pictures that play, and the people who run the Theatre?
According to Theatre film buff co-directors, Marianne Lampke and Connie White, each season has a framework of five themes. "We give a certain personality to each day," says White. Here's how it goes: The women are big on film noir, a genre of shadowy crime films featuring cynical, malevolent characters (a "wonderful genre," says Marianne), and Mondays are largely devoted to these movies. Tuesdays host quirky, cult-classic, independent movies, and Wednesdays are reserved for "Recent Raves," selected from new art films that have left mainstream cinema, but are yet to be released on video. Thursdays feature films by foreign directors or foreign countries. The weekends are "all over the place," especially Sundays, ranging from Hollywood favorites to a retrospective look at works by a director who recently released a film, to "the Films that Inspired Pulp Fiction."
Even with all these offerings, the women fear the proliferation of home videos and DVDs will thin theater draws. White wants the audience to remember cinema as a group experience, to enjoy the collective dynamics of a crowded theater. In this spirit, the Brattle Theatre offers delightful details, such as the traditional double feature format, membership t-shirts, and refreshments like real-butter popcorn popped in canola oil, organic coffee and "fancy" chocolate bars. --S. TAKADA